5 Ways to Comic Con: Part One
By George Rose
August 16, 2017
Everyone is welcome at Comic Con. There was no judgement among the crowd, at least not out loud to someone’s face. Those that were dressed up were more than happy to take pictures with anyone who asked, as this was less of a “We’re the same real life version of these characters that you see at Disney World” and more of a “We spent a lot of time and money perfecting these cosplay costumes so please take a picture and make me Insta-famous” situation. Cosplayers are always happy to pose and I am more than willing to get joyously obnoxious right beside them. Everyone was happy, groups seemed to naturally funnel into peaceful and patient lines, and the sound of cameras flashing and children cheering was the music in my ears. I was home and this was Christmas morning with my family.
And with the holiday season comes a broken bank. I spent hundreds of dollars on myself and for others; don’t forget, it was in October so actual Christmas was only two months away. Shirts, glassware, comic books, toys, jewelry, hats… you name it. The Avengers movie had just come out and I was on a Marvel high. Being 100% Greek means I have an inherent fascination with gods so Thor was my favorite Avenger and the target goal for most of my spending. I got a Thor hat, beer glass, t-shirt, wall decal and keychain. Being my first Con, I was on a relatively small budget. I seriously underestimated the amount of different brands and memorabilia that would be available, and even though each year I bring more money it’s never enough.
Thor would prove to not just be the one I spent the most money on. He would also prove to be my greatest villain at this very first Comic Con of mine. The concept of women dressing up as male superheroes was a new one to me and one I’ve grown very fond of. Caitlyn Jenner had yet to rip the door right off the transgender conversation (2015 was three years away) so at the time I viewed this nerdy attempt at acceptance to be both beautiful and inspirational. I met a few girls dress up as Loki and Captain America and was immediately jealous. I could already envision myself dressing up as a male Harley Quinn in the future with little black shorts and red tank top and a mixed mohawk! But with great gender transforming comes great responsibility.
At one point I ran up to a tall, skinny women dressed up as Thor and begged her for a picture. I knew it was a woman because there was no bulge in the crotch region of her cheap looking costume. There weren’t many layers of material to suggest much time or money spent on the costume, and nothing to protect the crowd from seeing your dick if you had one. I would know. Every man in a cheap lycra costume became the fixation of my eyes as I searched their bodies for ball sacks and butt cracks. I told her I loved that her and other cosplay women were helping to shepherd the gender-bending movement by dressing as Thor. She told me she was actually a man and hunched over in heartache. Instead of objectifying the woman by looking at her tits to confirm, I checked the crotch again right in front of her. Nothing. Just sadness. I asked if we could still take the picture and he/she obliged. This is the first of many inappropriate situations I would find myself in over the years. It was not, however, the last time I looked for a bulge.
The Con is more than just merchandising and autographs and, yes, even some of the completely ridiculous situations I still have to tell you about. It’s about finding your brotherhood of super nerds, discovering the Comic Con hero within and making friendships that will last a lifetime (I was in Travis and Heathers wedding in 2015). It takes many conventions and endless patience from your friends to master the arts of the Con. They’ve grown so big over the years with so many types of pop culture now showing up, you may just find yourself at one in the near future. Let me be your guide into the convention that now rules my world. Follow me on this journey, my friends, as I take you down the five-part road that is: 5 Ways to Comic Con!